Today the Dundee Courier has reported on Liam Kerr's letter (see below) to Health Minister Shona Robison, in which he asked what the Scottish Government was doing to combat mounting and serious issues in the Health Service in the North East including staffing levels, hospital upgrades and waiting times, from Tayside to Buchan.
This coincided with a report released by the General Registrar of Scotland which showed that boys born in Dundee between 2012 and 2014 can expect to live to 75.3. A few miles down the road in Perth and Kinross, the expectancy is 79.5 and across the water in Fife it is 78.6. The Scottish average is 77.1.
Liam has written to the Health Secretary detailing a litany of issues affecting the NHS in the region – including staffing levels, hospital upgrades and waiting times
Liam Kerr has said the cumulative effect of problems in the health service give the impression to the public that the NHS is “failing” in a number of areas due to a lack of support and strategic planning from the Scottish Government.
The letter highlighted the fact that NHS Tayside had to appeal to other health boards for help to address GP shortages in Brechin and was forced to close the maternity unit at Montrose.
In Grampian, the Gardenstown GP surgery was forced to shut its doors due to staffing problems, while patients in Aberdeen are reporting waits of more than four weeks to secure an appointment.
Campaigners battling for a vital upgrade to the Neuro Ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, meanwhile, have waited for three years for action.
Liam said: “The number of problems affecting the NHS in the North East region is mounting, and the impression that the public are left with is that the health service is struggling to cope, in this area due to years of poor management from the SNP government.
“Families should not have to wait more than a month for an appointment at the local GP practice, while the staff shortages have prompted health boards to take unprecedented action.
“The announcement of golden hellos for GPs in rural areas is to be welcomed, but surely this is an area that the Scottish Government should have been looking at some time ago.
“There have been umpteen warnings about our ageing workforce which have been ignored for far too long. The health service would not be in this state if it had been managed properly, and many will feel that this announcement is too little too late. I have asked when we can expect tangible results from this intervention and what real modelling has been done that shows this is the solution to the problem.
“We know that spending in real terms north of the border has not kept pace with increases in England, and that is something that needs to be urgently addressed.
“We have also seen reports in the last week about the enormous repair bill that is looming for NHS buildings across the country and now this report from the registrar on the shocking life expectancy rate for Dundonian males. The people of the North East truly deserve a better health service than the one the SNP is presiding over today."